23 April 2008

How Will Microsoft Cope with Clouds?

One of the central questions for future computing is: How will Microsoft cope with clouds? In other words, when the PC platform becomes almost an adjunct, how will the company maintain its vice-like grip on the market? A typically thorough post here from Mary Jo Foley about Microsoft's Live Mesh provides some important clues. Here's one part that I found particularly interesting:

Even though the Live Mesh team went out of its way to emphasize that Microsoft sees Live Mesh as an open platform, and not just one designed to appeal to the Windows/.Net choir, both Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere (Silverlight) are key elements of the Live Mesh developer stack (a diagram of which — here on the left — can be enlarged to full size by clicking on it). Support for Flash, Cocoa, JavaScript and other non-Microsoft-centric technologies is there, too. But given Live Mesh is from Microsoft, I’d wager Silverlight applications and services will look and work better as Live Mesh endpoints than apps/services built on and for Mac OSX/Safari, Linux and Mozilla ones.

This is standard lock-in: provide a nominally "open" platform, but make sure it works better with Microsoft products - a variant on the old "DOS ain't done 'til Lotus won't run." Some things never change....

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